Building supply company fined for fatal forklift accident
April 17, 2017
• Employee’s death prompts probe
• “This incident could have been prevented”
Good View Roofing & Building Supply Corporation of San Francisco has been fined $62,320 by Cal/OSHA for multiple serious accident-related safety violations following an investigation of a fatal forklift accident in San Francisco, the state agency says.
Cal/OSHA says that on November 21, 2016, a 60-year-old forklift operator was transferring building supplies from the company’s warehouse to a customer’s vehicle. When the forklift descended a sloped ramp, a bag of mortar mix fell off of the load and blocked the front right wheel. The operator reversed the forklift to free the bag of mortar and while doing so, turned the steering wheel so that the back wheel went over the edge of the ramp, tipping the five-ton forklift over. The worker tried to leap to safety but was fatally crushed by the machine.
“This incident could have been prevented had the employer effectively evaluated the workplace for hazards, which would have identified the unguarded edge of the ramp that exposed the forklift to tipping,” says Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. “The worker should have been properly trained to stay seated with the seatbelt fastened in the event of a tip over.”
The six violations cited in Cal/OSHA’s investigation included three classified as serious accident-related, one serious, one regulatory and one general. The serious accident-related violations were cited for the company’s failure to ensure:
• the proper use of a forklift seatbelt,
• the forklift operator is certified to operate the vehicle safely, and
• that industrial ramps have at least an 8-inch curb or equivalent installed along the open edges to prevent the wheels of industrial trucks from running off the ramp.